Tibetan-Canadian Free Tibet activist and director of Students For A Free Tibet Lhadon Tethong has been liveblogging from Beijing. The activists have gathered in Beijing exactly one year before the Olympic Games are about to start – tonight, there will be the official countdown ceremony.
Their live blog Beijing Wide Open has declared their goal to “expose the reality behind Chinaâ€™s propaganda campaign surrounding the Olympic Games”. Sadly, this isn’t some weird paranoia. The Chinese government has not exactly been open to the ideas of free speech, free press, or real democracy.
In the middle of the night, Lhadon Tethong and one of her fellow activists were arrested. There has been no way of contacting them since.
Quote from the press release:
[The activists have been] followed at all times by several vehicles as well as plainclothes security officers on foot. This number increased to 30 plainclothes followers after a protest by six activists from Students for a Free Tibet yesterday on Chinaâ€™s Great Wall.
â€œAt the very moment that China is proclaiming Olympic ideals of peace and humanity, it has turned around and silenced Ms. Tethong and Mr. Golding for nothing more than freely expressing their views on the Beijing Olympics and Tibet,
As BoingBoing’s Xeni Jardin pointed out, this whole experiment is either “incredibly ballsy or incredibly foolhardy, depending on how you look at it”. I tend to hope it’s the first, not the latter.
Also, I’d hope that Western governments wouldn’t go quite as easy on the suppression of basic human rights when dealing with China, Russia and other economically thriving, but repressive regimes. A bit of criticism doesn’t hurt, you know?
Update: According to their weblog, the two detained bloggers have been brought to Hong Kong now and are free, safe and well.